Tag Archives | NSA

How leading Tor developers and advocates tried to smear me after I reported their US Government ties

dollen (CC BY-ND 2.0)

dollen (CC BY-ND 2.0)

via Pando:

About three months ago, I published an article exploring the deeply conflicted ties between agencies of the U.S. National Security State, and the Tor Network—an online anonymity tool popular among anti-surveillance privacy groups and activists, including Edward Snowden.

My article traced the history of Tor and the US military-intelligence apparatus that spawned it—from Tor’s initial development by military researchers in the mid-1990s at the US Naval Laboratory in Washington DC, through its quasi-independent period after it was spun off as a nonprofit in 2004 but continued to receive most of its funding from a variety of government branches: Pentagon, State Department, USAID, Radio Free Asia. My article also revealed that Tor was created not to protect the public from government surveillance, but rather, to cloak the online identity of intelligence agents as they snooped on areas of interest. But in order to do that, Tor had to be released to the public and used by as diverse a group of people as possible: activists, dissidents, journalists, paranoiacs, kiddie porn scum, criminals and even would-be terrorists — the bigger and weirder the crowd, the easier it would be for agents to mix in and hide in plain sight.

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Consciousness In The Age Of Digital Dystopia

Vijay Kalakoti (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Vijay Kalakoti (CC BY-ND 2.0)

This was originally published on Jan Wellmann’s website. You can follow him on Twitter: @janwe

It’s Monday morning and you’re preparing your first cup of coffee when the tanks roll into your neighborhood. Phone lines are cut, curfew is activated, and doors are broken down.

You sigh. It’s another “cleanout day” in the not too distant future.

The War On Terror has infiltrated every layer of society. Internet sites track the spread of extremism like the CDC tracks a lethal virus. The threat is pandemic and online news sources agree: In order to keep you safe, weekly cleanout campaigns must ramp up all across the nation – yet again.

Today you just happen to be in the red zone.

The main annoyance about being in a red zone is usually the loss of your phone signal. But today is different.

A close friend has gone missing – along with his past.… Read the rest

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Apple Locks Out NSA with iPhone 6

By download.net.pl - mobile via Flickr (CC by 2.0).

By download.net.pl – mobile via Flickr (CC by 2.0).

via The New York Times:

WASHINGTON — Devoted customers of Apple products these days worry about whether the new iPhone 6 will bend in their jean pockets. The National Security Agency and the nation’s law enforcement agencies have a different concern: that the smartphone is the first of a post-Snowden generation of equipment that will disrupt their investigative abilities.

The phone encrypts emails, photos and contacts based on a complex mathematical algorithm that uses a code created by, and unique to, the phone’s user — and that Apple says it will not possess.

The result, the company is essentially saying, is that if Apple is sent a court order demanding that the contents of an iPhone 6 be provided to intelligence agencies or law enforcement, it will turn over gibberish, along with a note saying that to decode the phone’s emails, contacts and photos, investigators will have to break the code or get the code from the phone’s owner.

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D.C. Circuit won’t televise NSA arguments

718px-National_Security_Agency.svg

via Josh Gerstein at Politico:

A federal appeals court set to wrestle with the legality of the National Security Agency’s massive collection of information on Americans’ phone calls will not do so in front of TV cameras, the court said in an order Monday.

Without comment, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit denied a motion surveillance opponent Larry Klayman and his clients filed last week seeking to televise the oral arguments in the case, currently set for November 4. The court acted before the government stated a position on the request. The order (posted here) does not indicate which specific judges denied Klayman’s motion.

Earlier this month, the 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held a lively and interesting round of oral arguments on the same issue with live TV coverage provided on C-SPAN’s websiteand delayed coverage on C-SPAN’s TV networks.

While most federal court proceedings remain closed to cameras, the 2nd Circuit and the 9th Circuit have permitted video coverage of oral arguments upon request for years.

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The U.S. Government’s Secret Plans To Spy For American Corporations

Another NSA shocker courtesy of Glenn Greenwald at the Intercept:

Adbusters_CorporateAmericaFlagThroughout the last year, the U.S. government has repeatedly insisted that it does not engage in economic and industrial espionage, in an effort to distinguish its own spying from China’s infiltrations of Google, Nortel, and other corporate targets. So critical is this denial to the U.S. government that last August, an NSA spokesperson emailed The Washington Post to say (emphasis in original): “The department does ***not*** engage in economic espionage in any domain, including cyber.”

After that categorical statement to the Post, the NSA was caught spying on plainly financial targets such as the Brazilian oil giant Petrobraseconomic summitsinternational credit card and banking systems; the EU antitrust commissioner investigating Google, Microsoft, and Intel; and the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. In response, the U.S. modified its denial to acknowledge that it does engage in economic spying, but unlike China, the spying is never done to benefit American corporations.

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James Risen is about to go to jail for refusing to name his sources

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I’m wondering if it’s time to enact a nationwide shield law.

via The Guardian:

If you blinked at the end of June, you may have missed one of the best pieces of journalism in 2014. The New York Times headline accompanying the story was almost criminally bland, but the content itself was extraordinary: A top manager at Blackwater, the notorious defense contractor, openly threatened to kill a US State Department official in 2007 if he continued to investigate Blackwater’s corrupt dealings in Iraq. Worse, the US government sided with Blackwater and halted the investigation. Blackwater would later go on to infamously wreak havoc in Iraq.

But what makes the story that much more remarkable is that its author, journalist James Risen, got it published amidst one the biggest legal battles over press freedom in decades – a battle that could end with the Justice Department forcing him into prison as early as this fall.

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How The NSA hacks your devices

NSA-octopusFrom The Register:

“It’s not as bad as you thought – it’s much worse.”

A leaked NSA cyber-arms catalog has shed light on the technologies US and UK spies use to infiltrate and remotely control PCs, routers, firewalls, phones and software from some of the biggest names in IT.

The exploits, often delivered via the web, provide clandestine backdoor access across networks, allowing the intelligence services to carry out man-in-the-middle attacks that conventional security software has no chance of stopping.

And if that fails, agents can simply intercept your hardware deliveries from Amazon to install hidden gadgets that rat you out via radio communications.

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A Hacker Artist Sent the NSA an ‘Uncrackable’ Encrypted Mixtape

The audio cassette greatly increased the distr...

The audio cassette greatly increased the distribution of bootleg recordings in the 1980s. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) (GNU)

Math evens the playing field and assists in sticking it to the man.

via Motherboard

In late May, hacker artist David Huerta, co-organizer of Art Hack Day and Cryptoparty, sent the NSA one hell of a snail mail. Huerta built a DIY encrypted mixtape using an Arduino board and a transparent acrylic case, containing a “soundtrack for the modern surveillance state.” It’s a mixtape the NSA won’t be able to listen to because of the power of private key-based cryptography.

Originally, Huerta wanted to make a traditional mixtape and share it with friends and co-workers. But, without a cassette recorder, he didn’t get very far. That’s when his DIY hacker artist instincts kicked in, and he started building the encrypted mixtape at NYC Resistor.

“I made my own version of a mixtape with an Arduino and wave shield sandwiched in between two laser-etched pieces of transparent acrylic,” he wrote. “The use of a giant-ass Arduino and wave shield was chosen since the (shitty) 44KHz wave file format gave it roughly the same audio quality I figured a wiretapped AT&T phone conversation would have.”

Huerta settled on the transparent acrylic cassette casing as a symbolic gesture of transparency.

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